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I-69 connection staying put, even with higher costs

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Might higher-than-expected costs to build Interstate 69 to Evansville result in a new connecting point to Indianapolis?

That’s what some are wondering now that costs of the controversial project have risen to $3 billion from the $1.7 billion originally projected.

So far, the state is using what it calls “innovative” construction techniques on the southern stretch already under construction and for segments about to be started. These include narrower medians and thinner pavement, Gov. Mitch Daniels said earlier this month. Critics say this could lead to higher maintenance costs later.

The project has drawn strong opposition in places such as Bloomington, for the potential environmental effects, and among those living in Perry Township, in Marion County, where the highway is to tie into I-465 roughly at where State Road 37 now runs.

That’s unless, of course, the Indiana Department of Transportation were to look for a less-populated place to run the highway. Some have suggested moving it west, through less-populated Morgan County, to tie into Interstate 70 near Indianapolis International Airport.  That would potentially reduce land acquisition costs and other aggravations of needling an interstate through Indianapolis’ south side.

So far, at least, INDOT is sticking to its original plans.

A 2003 environmental impact statement established the route through Perry Township, said INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield.

“This alignment was subsequently approved by the Federal Highway Administration in a 2004 Record of Decision and withstood litigation in Federal District Court. INDOT has no plans at this time to reopen” the EIS or ROD, Wingfield said.

Although the stretch between Evansville and Bloomington could be completed as early as 2014, the Indianapolis end would likely be completed much later. The first two miles of I-69 have been completed at the southernmost end, at Interstate 64.

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

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  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

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